Bridging the Western art world and the West African film industry, London-based artist Doug Fishbone cast himself as a local farmer in the film Elmina, a feature-length movie shot and produced in Ghana and starring well-known Ghanaian actors. The over-the-top story is rife with witchcraft, murder, and intrigue as the characters battle against corrupt multinational corporations, but it all pales in comparison to how bizarre (sometimes painfully and sometimes amusingly) it is to watch Fishbone, “a white Jewish guy from New York,” play the lead role without any reference to the overtly odd casting choice. “In a quietly radical way [it] completely overturns conventions of race and representation,” he says.
Adding another level of interest is Fishbone’s choice to release the film throughout Africa on DVD–planting one foot in mass-media–as well as to put it on limited display at the Tate Britain and Rokeby galleries in London–planting the other in the more limited art world.
The full film is now on view at the Tate Britain in London through January 3rd.
Stills from the film are on display at the Rokeby gallery in London through January 15th.